Dear Editor,

There is an old saying: “A lie will go around the world in a day, but the truth is seldom heard!” I wish to protect my good name and provide the facts associated with the agreement; wherein, Ashley Hall & Associates agreed to assist Lincoln County in its negotiations with the Federal Government on alleged under-reporting its annual numbers seriously detracting from the full payment amounts that rightfully belonged to the residents of Lincoln County. In this matter, those crying ‘wolf’ in Lincoln County continue to distort both the facts and context in the County obtaining equity.

As a boy growing up in Lincoln County, born in Caliente and raised in Panaca, Ada Mathews was my primary teacher. She was one of the most influential people in my life. Ada owned the old Malt Shop on Main Street in Panaca where I would take my hard earned nickels to buy ice cream. Ada always treated me kindly encouraging me to be a good boy. I will never forget the day Ada told us the story of the Little Red Hen. I understood the story and its life application almost immediately and have referenced it often during my family, professional, civic and military careers. You all remember the story —

Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who lived on a farm. She was friends with a lazy dog, a sleepy cat and a noisy yellow duck.

One day the little red hen found some seeds on the ground. The little red hen had an idea. She would plant the seeds.

The little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me plant the seeds?” “Not I,” barked the lazy dog; “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat; “Not I,” quacked the noise yellow duck.

“Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen planted the seeds all by herself.

When the seeds had grown, the little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me cut the wheat?”

“Not I,” barked the lazy dog; “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat; “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck.

“Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen cut the wheat all by herself.

When all of the wheat was cut, the little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me take the wheat to the mill to be ground into flour?”

“Not I,” barked the lazy dog; “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat; “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck.

“Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen brought the wheat to the mill all by herself, ground the wheat into flour and carried the heavy sack of flour back to the farm.

The tired little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me bake the bread?”

“Not I,” barked the lazy dog; “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat; “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck.

“Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen baked the bread all by herself.

When the bread was finished, the tired little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me eat the bread?”

“I will,” barked the lazy dog; “I will,” purred the sleepy cat; “I will,” quacked the noisy yellow duck.

“No!” said the little red hen….,” It will be shared with the residents of Lincoln County for years to come!

It is said that one of the greatest sins in life is the sin of ingratitude! Not appreciating the hard work that many people put in to help others. People are blessed with certain talents and abilities that allow them to reach out and help people who may not be able to help themselves. Case in point was the request by the County Commission who asked Ashley Hall & Associates to help the County negotiate with the Federal Government regarding whether numbers reported by the Federal Government for the “secret area” located in the County were being under reported. Following a few thoughtful days, Ashley Hall & Associates agreed to help Lincoln County in those negotiations.

In an open County Commission meeting held in Pioche on Dec. 19, 2011, Lincoln County and Ashley Hall & Associates entered into a contract wherein Ashley Hall & Associates agreed to assist the County’s Constitutional Officers (Commissioners, District Attorney, Assessor and Treasurer) to negotiate with Federal Government to determine whether the Federal Government had been under-reporting the figures that it sent to the County that were used to calculate the annual payment by the Federal Government to Lincoln County. Ashley Hall & Associates was to front its own research and analysis costs involved in this endeavor. Ashley Hall & Associates agreed that if no additional funds were forthcoming from the Federal Government through its efforts with Lincoln County, Ashley Hall & Associates would receive no reimbursement or compensation. (Ashley Hall & Associates took all of the risk!)

In 2011, the amount received by Lincoln County from the Federal Government for the area in question was around $95,000. Because of the sensitive nature of the area in question, no one from the County has been allowed to enter the area to assess it for taxation related purposes; however, County records show that Lincoln County has negotiated a settlement amount with the Federal Government in 1967, 1972, 1993 and 2000. The negotiated settlement precedence has been used by the Federal Government and Lincoln County for the past 50 years.

Once a determination was made that the Federal Government had been allegedly under-reporting its numbers to Lincoln County, Ashley Hall & Associates recommended that the County renegotiate the annual reporting numbers with the Federal Government in an effort to increase the revenues for the people of Lincoln County. As a result of the negotiations between Lincoln County and the Federal Government in 2013, with the integral assistance of Ashley Hall & Associates, an agreement was executed between Lincoln County and the Federal Government that resulted in Lincoln County receiving approximately 26 times more revenues over previous annual Government payments. Even after the successful negotiations resulting in millions of dollars of new revenue to the people of Lincoln County, Ashley Hall & Associates agreed in an open meeting to reduce its compensation for such efforts. In short, because of the participation and expertise of Ashley Hall & Associates, the people of Lincoln County can be assured that a massive increase in revenues will be received for the benefit of its residents for years to come!

In closing, Ashley Hall & Associates wishes to thank the residents of Lincoln County for the opportunity to be of help. We are pleased that our efforts have resulted in Lincoln County obtaining millions of additional dollars for its residents over the years to come! For those who continue to cry “wolf,” by making endless comments overflowing with vitriol, the people of Lincoln County deserve the truth and benefit in this matter. It is interesting that those who cry ‘wolf’ have never mentioned the millions of dollars that were left on the table over the years by those who were afraid to challenge the Federal Government or should have either known better and understood the process for obtaining equity for the County in more detail. It appears that all of those crying ‘wolf’ are interested in is eating the entire loaf of bread that came from seeds they did not plant, wheat they would not cut, flour they would not mill, and bread they would not help bake, thinking they should eat all of the bread without effort. Such is the sin of ingratitude!

Ashley Hall & Associates has fought the good fight for our friends in Lincoln County with the knowledge and understanding acquired over the past 40+ years of governmental and private sector service in detailed research and analytical matters that will benefit Lincoln County for years to come. It is now up to the residents of Lincoln County to use their additional earned revenues wisely and be wary of those ill-informed critics who continue to cry “wolf!”

Sincerely,

Ashley Hall